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In the words of Gus Gould: No, no, no, no, no!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011 by

A lot is spoken about how businesses can best use social media to their advantage. It's often touted as a powerful tool that can help firms form a deeper connection with their customer base, through dialogue and meaningful feedback. For the most part, companies (ranging from large ones like Coke & QANTAS, down to your local home brew chain) are getting this right. However, there are still some that can get it oh so, so wrong! Exhibit A: SideWays Automotive. A small, recently established race & high performance mechanic in Adelaide. Their gargantuan Facebook interaction fail with a follower has gone viral around the country and no doubt, by the time you read this, to other parts of the world. 

The back story is that a local photographer took photo's of cars at a show and said that he didn't mind his photos being reproduced on Facebook, as long as he was given credit for taking the shots. Now, SideWays Automotive failed to do so, and when he publicly brought this up on their Facebook, they snapped and the rest is history. 

Here's a screen shot of the start of the conversation (click on the image to enlarge it):

To endure the pain in full click here.

One can only begin to wonder how a company who's promise to their consumer is: "The main focus is on making our customers happy, with excellent parts and quality work" could  get this so wrong. I guess marketers can take comfort in the fact that they still have the upper hand over small businesses when it comes to social media strategy. But still this isn't any way to speak a person, let alone in the view of current and potential customers. 

The lessons we can take from this are:

1. Treat everyone on your Facebook as though they are your best customer, no matter what. Because your actual best customer might be watching.

2. Something going viral can be for all the wrong reasons. The internet is a powerful tool, but can also crush a BE CAREFUL.

3. Doing the right thing and being cooperative with other businesses strengthens your brand in the long run. Burning bridges will only hurt you. 

Given their customer relations policies, it's no surprise that the business is going "SideWays"...

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